Five Must-Have Components of Active Learning Environments

By: Pam Powers

As educators, we are constantly battling the pressures to bolster test scores, give more time and resources, and stay up to speed with new technologies and teaching methods, all while providing a comprehensive learning experience where kids not only grow academically, but they grow socially, physically, and emotionally.

Of course, we entered the education field because we wanted to make a difference–in the lives of students, in re-shaping America's education system, in building a better, brighter, and bolder world. But did we ever envision it would entail so many competing demands and hurdles?

With that in mind, Let's Move! Active Schools (a part of the First Lady's Let's Move! initiative) is a strategy to help teachers and administrators break through the clutter, simplify the chaos, and get back to the core of education.

You might be thinking, "Wait, isn't Let's Move! Active Schools for physical activity and physical education?" And the answer is yes, but this solution is universally valuable to all educators.

Based on the premise that active kids do better, Let's Move! Active Schools equips school leaders and teachers with the evidence-based resources and a customized action plan to transform school-based physical activity and physical education into higher test scores, greater focus, and elevated aptitude for creativity and teamwork. Or in our terms:

School-based Physical Activity + Quality Physical Education = Better Performing Students

Essentially, we are flipping the traditional model on its head. Learning is now BOTH fun and active. And, by infusing physical activity into the culture of your school, many academic pressures like the Common Core and standardized testing subside. Increased student achievement and engagement levels are a direct byproduct of an active learning environment.

Let's Move! Active Schools is proud to team up with AMLE to celebrate March as Middle Level Education Month and jumpstart a "movement mindset" in your school. Together, we want to help you adopt an active learning environment.

Pam Powers is a Let's Move! Active Schools Recruitment Manager (SHAPE America) and was awarded the NASPE SWD Teacher of the Year and Golden Apple Teacher of the Year.

Let's Move! Active Schools is a proud partner of Middle Level Education Month.


5 comments on article "Five Must-Have Components of Active Learning Environments"

I am very interested in attending this webinar, however, I will be on vacation when it is offered. Will this particular webinar be archived and available after the original date?

3/3/2015 8:37 AM

Ms. Powers,

I really enjoyed reading this article and hearing your thoughts about the importance of physical education in schools. I agree that schools should have an active culture with, as mentioned in the article, a "movement mindset." I am a teacher in training and am looking for ways to keep my future students engaged and alert during class. As you mentioned, research shows that physical education and activity help increase test scores, focus and creativity. From experience, I know this is true. I enjoyed physical education because I felt like it gave me a break from thinking and it rejuvenated my brain. The classes I was most engaged in had the students moving around. This helped keep my mind from wondering and reduced drowsiness. There is a time and place for sitting in desks, but, I want students to know that learning does not just mean sitting in one spot for over an hour. Thank you for providing links to the webinar and the Let's Move! Active Schools initiative. I know they will be great resources for physical education in schools and movement in classrooms. Thanks!

4/17/2015 1:02 PM

Ms. Powers,

This article was very interesting to read. I have heard that getting the students up and moving helps their bodies and minds stay active. With that being said, their minds will be active while they are learning and during testing. I have always been an active person and have wanted to incorporate that into my classroom and now knowing that statistics to prove that students are more successful when they are being active makes it even more beneficial in my classroom. I reading more about the Let's Move! Active Schools initiative from your link. It helps me become more knowledgeable on how to incorporative physical activity into my classroom. With your inspiration, I am excited to start my own physical activity movement in my aspiring school district.

Thank you again for your great ideas and statistics that you share with me!

Miss. Jordyn Holle

4/19/2015 6:27 PM

Ms. Powers,

Thanks for your time in writing this article, it was very interesting and I enjoyed reading what you had to say. I always had been told that when students are up and moving around, this helps the students bodies and minds stay active during the duration of the class period. But never had the facts to back it up until I read your article. When I was a kid and still today I have always been a very active person and always wanted to incorporate student’s activeness into my classroom. From your reading you have giving me the statistics that proves that students are successful when they are being active, that I have been looking for. You talk about many good thing and gave your reader a lot of good links to look at, the link that I liked most was “Let's Move! Active Schools” link, I enjoyed looking farther into it. Also thanks for letting me know about the webinar over "Health, Wellness & Student Achievement in the Middle Level", I hope to listen in to what is all said and find ways that I can implement the things into my classroom and into my future school.

4/19/2015 9:22 PM

Ms. Powers,

I fully agree with the concept that:

School-based Physical Activity + Quality Physical Education = Better Performing Students

I have always found it easier to concentrate after a "brain break". The fact that education is now cutting physical education and other electives to put more emphasis on core classes is, in my opinion, counter productive. It is essential for kids to have some sort of break throughout the day to rejuvenate and re-center their focus. In our Middle Level Education class at K-State, we have really focused on the development of middle school aged kids, and how they benefit more from activities in the classroom, as well as physical education, as opposed to just sitting in desks all day. Now that the research is there, I am hoping this becomes more of a priority in schools everywhere.

4/20/2015 1:06 PM

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